Irish Cathleen should know, but Juan told her
she was always around men, not women,
and what would a man say about mojo
but swear only he had the black magic . . .
When you go someplace you never write back
but once. No one can be sure a letter
arrived, thus the legend is created
by others: you are happy to be gone . . .
The year he went south Reynolds did not know
espanol. Two years later he knew well
the language of the bastards who beat him
until he was silent, then sent him back . . .
In London Isabel wrote poetry
the Nobel poet Octavio Paz
praised. There was death etched in each imaged line.
She spoke English while Reynolds wrote his down . . .
After he met Adore in New Orleans
Ira never wrote home. Virginia was too far,
he could not say he loved a black woman
who loved him. Who there knew such happiness . . .
Willie had many women. Some were his
to keep if he wished, as long as she liked.
Yes, she gave herself completely to him,
but nothing lasts. He demanded too much . . .
When a man has mojo is it better
than a woman’s? Juan has no way to know.
If he could put his body in a mask
and be woman, that was the only way
to know what he had never cared to know.
He would take Irish Cathleen’s word for it.
No reason why mojo was only men’s,
when Irish Cathleen could keep Juan in thrall . . .
When Reynolds returned to America
without Isabel, he wrote a poem
set on an island where the doctors were
always working up magic of their own,
the chorus at dawn no more than at dusk,
all the weather in that world held at bay
by words. He mailed the poem to her place
in Mexico City. He heard nothing.
The envelope returned Address Unknown.
You can’t hear what’s not said, Reynolds knew that.
Better to let the body have its say
like Willie did, then waiting for her
she let him come. Every woman who loves
a man wants him happy so he cherishes her
and always wants to return to the nest
between her legs where the mojo happens.
(28 March 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander